When I was 15 I met Wes Craven, the director of this film, just after he had filmed it in Haiti. I didn’t realize then how truly chaotic the country must have been. The story takes place during the build-up to the flight of president Jean-Claude Duvalier in 1986. Almost as we watched, President Jean-Bertrand Aristide fled Haiti in a sad repetition of history. I now find it amazing that Wes managed to make this film at all.
The first half of the movie is an intriguing foray into shamanistic drug use and its relation to zombies. Unfortunately it slowly degrades into a horror flick with cheesy effects. When one of the characters pulls his own head off and throws it another, any question of taking the movie seriously goes out the window. It’s too bad, because Ann and I both felt it had the potential to be a moving portrait of Haiti’s struggles and a peek into its mysterious mystical traditions.